Aloy Ejimakor, special counsel for detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, says it is unfair that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), hastily extradited the IPOB leader from Kenya to Nigeria yet the Minister of Justice says the arrest warrant issued against a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States will follow due process.
Ejimakor, who stated this in a chat with The PUNCH, stressed that the painstaking process the US has followed in the request for Kyari was what Malami and the Federal Government of Nigeria should have followed in the extradition of his client.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer was reacting to a statement by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, who said though the FBI was yet to officially write the AGF Office seeking the transfer of Kyari but everything would be done in line with the rule of law.
Kyari, the suspended former Head of the police Intelligence Response Team, is under investigation for alleged involvement in a $1.1m Internet fraud allegedly perpetrated by Abbas Ramon, popularly known as Hushpuppi, and four others.
The FBI had claimed that Kyari detained one Kelly Chibuzor at the behest of Hushpuppi for one month to enable the latter and his co-conspirators fleece their Qatari victim of over $1m.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, subsequently confirmed the receipt of FBI’s allegations against Kyari and set up a panel to probe the cop.
But Malami’s aide had said the AGF Office was yet to receive any communication from the FBI or the Nigeria Police Force regarding the arrest warrant issued against Kyari. The AGF Office is responsible for matters regarding extradition, repatriation and transfer of suspects or wanted persons.
“There is no official communication to that effect,” Gwandu had told The PUNCH. He, however, said that “everything will be done according to the rule of law and based on the dictates of the extant provisions of the law”.
Reacting, Kanu’s lawyer said the FBI taught Nigeria a lesson in justice system by not going through back channels to arrange the “abduction” of the police officer.
Ejimakor said, “I do not want to compare apples with oranges but what I can say is the difficulty through which the US is seeking for the transfer of Abba Kyari to the US is illustrative of what Nigeria should have done in the case of Nnamdi Kanu. Kanu probably would have been transferred by Kenya if extradition proceedings were commenced against him.
“What America is accusing Abba Kyari to have committed is clearly extraditable under the Nigerian laws and the law of the United States because the offences relate to money laundering, bribery, corruption and all that.
“I am not arranging judgment over Abba Kyari whether he committed it or not but the lesson everybody needs to learn, whether anybody is playing the tribal card or not, is: why would somebody believes that Abba Kyari deserves due process and the same person turns around and jubilate after the unlawful transfer otherwise known as extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and also seeks to jubilate over the attempted unlawful transfer of (Sunday) Igboho from Benin Republic?
“This type of thing goes to indicate the deep fault lines in Nigeria. Somebody from a part of the country thinks it is okay to grab someone from another country without due process and bring him to Nigeria to answer offences of political character but it is okay for another country to submit itself to seeking due process in the transfer of a citizen of Nigeria to the United States. It is a very deep contradiction.”
Recall that Malami at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021 had announced that the IPOB leader was arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, is a holder of Nigerian and British passports. He had earlier jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja.
Kanu’s trial has been adjourned till October 21, 2021.